Chapman Aerospace to offer Drone Pilot Training School

By Emily Aasand | June 18, 2015

After recently receiving U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly drones at or under 200 feet, Chapman Aerospace LLC will soon offer a Drone Pilot Training School at its California base where FAA-certified pilots will teach students to become professional FAA-certified pilots. The pilots will learn to fly safely and legally in order to take advantage of turnkey opportunities in the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) industry.

“We’re building a training compound which will include a 10,000 square foot building that will be catered with classrooms and flight simulators,” said Justin Chapman, founder and president of Chapman Aerospace.

The compound will be staffed with eight to 10 trained instructors and will include a large flying field facility which Chapman says will become an FAA-approved flight field facility for real-life practice scenarios. “That facility is going to be an all-in-one training compound where we’ll be able to put up a wind farm, or have controlled burns and practice search and rescue,” said Chapman.

The Drone Pilot Training School will help students get an exemption for particular operations and train them to operate drones during those operations. The school will also help provide job placement for people to operate under specific exemptions, the company said.

The California-based school, scheduled to open its doors in September, will offer two types of courses for prospective students. Its two-week course is a refresher course that goes over rules and regulations and will touch on current information already known by most operators, including: FAA pilot operating handbooks, exemptions and flight manuals. The two-week course also includes advanced flight training where students will work with flight simulators.

“We’ll have them experience simulator failures, related GPS failures, as well and put them through manual taking off and landing practices,” said Chapman.

The second course will provide students already equipped with a pilot’s license drone flight training that could eventually lead to job placement. According to Chapman, the one month course covers everything the two-week course does, but goes more in-depth and has more flight training time with an instructor.

The school will train students on multi-rotor aircrafts and hopes to move into fixed wing platform opportunities in the future.

Although the school doesn’t plan to open for three months, Chapman says the first two months are already booked with classes and students. “During the first two months, we’re looking to have around 300 people go through this program,” he said.

Chapman, who has been flying remote control helicopters since age 12, started flying for several of the first original six companies that received the FAA Section 333 UAS exemptions because none of them met pilot criteria needs. Chapman was hired through Chapman Aerospace by HeliVideo Production LLC to be the company’s chief pilot. He has worked as the aerial coordinator on numerous feature films and specializes in piloting and aerial coordinating for major corporate events, including flying for the U.S. Open, which is currently being held at Chambers Bay, Washington. 


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